So often I speak with teachers, therapists, and other allies who want to be of assistance but are stymied by the terminology — especially about the difference between gender and sexual orientation. They’re often practically desperate to ask about these things so they can interact with LGBTQ folks in a helpful way, or at least without being offensive!
Language around issues of gender and sexuality can have real impact. Many times people stifle conversation for fear of saying the wrong thing.
Caryn B. Oppenheim, with support from Safe Schools Coalition, has produced a great new guide that can help teachers, schools, gay straight-alliances, college groups and many others answer some of these questions and problems. With sections on “Fluidity, Categorization, and Vocabulary”, “Coming Out”, “Language and Homophobia”, “Intersections of Identity”, “Testimonies” and “International Perspectives” it should really help you feel more “in the know” as you work in your community. Whether you’re a parent, trying to help your child’s school get more educated about LGBTQ issues, or a gay therapist new to the terminology around gender, this guide will go a long way toward creating some shared language — maybe helping us all understand a little more.